Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Surveying my new land

I attended a tax foreclosure auction earlier this year and purchased an 8.5 acre parcel of land. The land I purchased is in the 100 year flood plain, and is zoned agricultural. When I first went to look at it I couldn't tell what the land was like under all that snow and was kinda busy with other stuff for a couple of months.

I finally got the survey completed by Hank and Jake, who work for Harstad Consultants, who I recommend for land surveys. The trouble with buying pastures, particularly if they're not mowed, is you have no idea what's under the grass. The 12 acre parcel that I'm farming had been an auto junk yard 40-50 years ago, and I'm still plowing up 1963 license plates and car axles and stuff.

So the way I did it this time was to enlist my brother, Bryan. He'd walk in front of the tractor through the 7 foot tall (not kidding, it's seven feet tall, see the picture below. Bryan is 6'3")
So hes walking slowly in front of me, fighting through the grass and I'm on the tractor with the brush hog mowing a path. I had 1,000 feet of cable and pulleys and tackle to retrieve the tractor waiting on the road if we got stuck, but we didn't, and manage to mow a trail around the perimeter of the property so that the survey crew could do their work. This is peat bog, and there's holes here and there that have nothing underneath them. Other places have a lush, thick covering of delicious (to a ruminant) grass. Good pasture.

Here's what the mowed path looks like. You can see the flag for the survey in the middle distance. The surveyors couldn't always flag the edge of the property due to various ditches that had been dug in the past, so there's a lot of stakes with markings like "property line 30' to the west' or "corner 6' east".

A lot of people buy land and don't have a survey. I've found that an accurate survey is well worth the money. This particular one, due to the amount of time it took and the complex shape, will probably cost me $3500.00 to complete. Probably worth every single penny in this case. You'll see why tomorrow.

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